IBM agrees to buy Red Hat


IBM and Red Hat’s boards have approved the buyout plans they both announced last year. Red Hat included some assurances nine paragraphs into their press release:

… IBM will remain committed to Red Hat’s open governance, open source contributions, participation in the open source community and development model, and fostering its widespread developer ecosystem. In addition, IBM and Red Hat will remain committed to the continued freedom of open source.

And some nothing-will-change:

… Red Hat will join IBM’s Hybrid Cloud team as a distinct unit, preserving the independence and neutrality of Red Hat’s open source development heritage and commitment, current product portfolio and go-to-market strategy, and unique development culture. Red Hat will continue to be led by Jim Whitehurst and Red Hat’s current management team. Jim Whitehurst also will join IBM’s senior management team and report to Ginni Rometty. IBM intends to maintain Red Hat’s headquarters, facilities, brands and practices.

We’ll see how long that remains the case. The hero image from the press release already has a twilight road fading into the darkness.

Image from the press release

I remember reading years ago BenQ chose purple because it was a combination of the red in Compaq, and the blue in many other IT companies. Maybe this deal will need to be an Indigo Hat. No wait, that’d be the XFS team’s name.

Jokes aside, this is a huge change. It’ll be interesting to see how the industry responds and adapts now that the news is official. As I said the first time, I’ll be interested to see how AIX plays into this, among many other things.

I’m also feeling a bit melancholic with it all. Red Hat Linux was the first *nix I ever bought in a retail carton, from Challenger in Funan Centre. I felt like I was using the future when booting with those CDs. That distro no longer exists, the place I bought was closed down and gutted, and now the company is being absorbed.

I suppose that’s the march of progress. In the words of that mis-attributed Ghandi quote in Red Hat’s reception: First they ignore you; Then they laugh at you; Then they fight you; Then you win they buy you.

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